On Wednesday August 25th, the valley community came together at the Historic Hemet Theatre to celebrate the building’s 100th anniversary.
“Century Celebration” was promoted as a Chamber Mixer by the Hemet San Jacinto Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Greater San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce. It was the first time that the two organizations have joined together for an event.
The festivities began with food from Downtown Deli & Coffee Company, Sweet’s Smokehouse & Grill, and Too Haute to Handle, along with champagne donated by the Greater San Jacinto Valley Chamber.
The emcee for the program was local celebrity Jerome Robinson, lead singer of the 2nd Generation Platters. Along with his signature humor, Jerome shared his perspective as a performer on the great sound and enthusiastic audiences that make HHT a favorite place to play.
Hemet Mayor Karlee Meyer and members of the City Council began the celebration by presenting CEO Susan Carrier with a Key to the City.
Next, dozens of dignitaries came forward to present HHT with Certificates of Recognition from the City of Hemet, the City of San Jacinto, County Supervisor Chuck Washington, District Assemblymen (Districts 42, 67 and 71), State Senator Rosilicie Ochoa-Bogh, and US Congressman Raul Ruiz, as well as from both Chambers of Commerce.
At the end of the program, a surprise announcement was made. Tom Westley of the Press Enterprise came forward to announce that in mid-September, the PE Best of the Inland Empire Awards will include HHT as a top music venue in the Inland Empire.
In her closing remarks, CEO Carrier emphasized the importance of continuing the renovation efforts. “In eight years, we have turned this doomed old building into a thriving community arts center. But there is much to be done to realize the potential here – not only to preserve of one of the oldest movie houses in the country, but to bring quality, affordable entertainment to the valley and revitalize Hemet’s Downtown District. We need the valley community to provide the financial support to make that happen.”
In addition to the program, over 2 dozen gift baskets were raffled off, raising over $800 for the theatre’s Building Fund. A Thomas Kincade print, signed by the artist was live auctioned, raising another $2100.
Following the ceremony, a Tribute to Bread was performed by “Pure Bread” – one of HHT’s tribute bands scheduled to appear next year.
The “Century Celebration” mixer event was only the beginning of a year of special events. Future events include a Hemet Heritage Foundation presentation on the history of the theatre on Monday October 11th, a screening of Michael Tennant’s “Mr. Whittier’s Hemet” about the founding of the town, a Halloween ghost-hunting tour, a Christmas Carol Sing-a-long, and an elegant gala, “Vintage Vegas” (Dec 4). Other special events will continue into next year.
Information on all theatre events is available at www.HistoricHemetTheatre.com or by calling (951) 658-5950. Box Office is open Monday thru Friday, 11am – 5pm.
By: Emily Rand | Contributed
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